Satanists want statue next to 10 Commandments
A Ten Commandments monument erected outside the Oklahoma state Capitol.
December 9th, 2013
01:46 PM ET

Satanists want statue next to 10 Commandments

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - Lots of lawmakers have been accused of devilish behavior, but Oklahoma's state capitol may become the first to actually have a monument to Satan.

If a New York-based group called the Temple of Satan gets its way, a statue of the Evil One would sit next to the recently erected 10 Commandments monument on state capitol grounds.

"They said they wanted to be open to different monuments," said Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the Temple of Satan, "and this seems like a perfect place to put that to the test."

Greaves and some legal experts say the Constitution is clear: the government can't endorse one particular religion. So, if a state capitol has a monument to one faith, it must allow monuments to others as well.

The Temple of Satan is less a religious body organized around rituals and regular meetings than a roving band of political provocateurs, said Greaves. They believe Satan is a "literary construct," the spokesman said, not an actual being with horns and hooves.

Last year, the Temple organized a gay and lesbian kiss-in at the gravesite of the mother of anti-gay preacher and activist the Rev. Fred Phelps. It also held a rally at Florida's state capitol in support of a law that allows "inspirational messages" at public school assemblies.

"It allows us to spread the message of Satanism," which centers around respect for diversity and religious minorities, said Greaves.

Oklahoma legislators voted to erect the Ten Commandments monument in 2009, using private funds donated by Rep. Mike Rietz, a surgeon and Southern Baptist deacon.

Rietz declined to comment on the Satanists' proposal on Monday, citing an separate and ongoing dispute with the American Civil Liberties Union over the Ten Commandments monument.

Oklahoma state Rep. Bob Cleveland told CNN that he's not in favor of the Satanist's proposed statue.

"I believe that only monuments that reflect Oklahoma values should be allowed on capitol the capitol grounds," Cleveland said in an e-mail on Monday.

But if Christians and Jews can have their monument to the 10 Commandments, then Satanists must be allowed to erect their own statue, said Brady Henderson, legal director of the American Civil Liberty Union's Oklahoma chapter.

"We feel like the Satanic Temple has a very strong argument to say that, if the state allows one religious monument, you have to allow others," Henderson said.

Oklahoma's statehouse grounds already has monuments honoring its heritage and Native American history, said Trait Thompson, chair of the Capitol Preservation Commission.

"Individuals and groups are free to apply to place a monument or statue or artwork," Thompson said.

The commission then determines whether the proposal abides by its standards and votes on whether to approve it.

Greaves said he's received the required forms from Oklahoma's Capitol Preservation Commission and is working on a design that will meet its standards.

"We want something big and bold that will be able to stand up to the weather or whatever other kinds of assaults," that may target the monument, he said.

"My favorite idea right now is an object of play for children. We want kids to see that Satanism is where the fun is."

The Temple of Satan created a Indiegogo fundraising page on Monday, but have thus far only publicly raised $150 towards its goal of $20,000.

Not all Satanist groups see the fun in political provocations.

Magus Peter Gilmore, head of the Church of Satan, which was founded by Anton LaVey in 1966, said he believes in strict separation of church and state.

"Rather than placing multiple 'advertisements' for various religions, we think it best for the (10 Commandments) monument to be removed to private property and that there be no objects supporting religion of any sort placed on the statehouse grounds," Gilmore said.

Earlier this year, Gilmore's Church of Satan squared off against a British group of Satanists over abortion rights, after activists shouted "Hail Satan" to drown out anti-abortion activists at the Texas state capitol.

READ MORE: Satanists square off on abortion (Yes, really)

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Culture wars • Devil • Satanism

soundoff (3,610 Responses)
  1. Mary

    They want it at Ann Coulter's house, right?

    December 9, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG


      December 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Even Satan would not 'tap' that... He took a break from nailing lying white women ever since the Mary 'immaculate conception' incident

      December 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  2. DustyOnes

    Oh good Satanists. No one misses them.

    December 9, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  3. Dyslexic doG

    I was hiking in the mountains last weekend and a bush burst into flames but it was not consumed. A voice came out of the bush and said "there is no god and religion is foolishness". I shrugged my shoulders and thought "OK ... I suppose a voice from a burning bush can't be wrong." So take note everyone. cheers!

    December 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Madtown

      You'll need to put this down on paper before anyone will accept it.

      December 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  4. bostontola

    It will be interesting to see this case go through the court systems.

    December 9, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Akira

      And it will. Especially if they deny other groups.

      December 9, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Think for yourself


      December 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • ?

      Is Topher not a danger to humanity? What can be done, litigation?

      December 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
  5. myrtlemaylee

    Normally I would be against this, but I think the actual heresy is having a monument to the Ten Commandments on any state capital grounds anywhere, not to mention D.C.! LOL. Oh me – sainted politicians and in Oklahoma no less.

    Actually, they should try to put on a duplicate on K Street; Twain called Satan "the first consultant". LMAO.

    December 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  6. tom

    The ten commandments does not allow for tolerance of other religious beliefs. In fact it claims that god is a jealous god and if you don't recognize him as the only god you will be punished along with the next 3 generations of your children. A monument to religious intolerance does not belong on public ground.

    December 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  7. Dyslexic doG

    we need a creationist museum on the lawn of the Oklahoma capital

    December 9, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  8. I_Own_Me

    haha, this is hilarious! Mixing politics and religion doesn't work, and poor Christians like Cleveland think that "only monuments that reflect [Christian] values should be allowed on capitol the capitol grounds." If you can't beat 'em, give them a taste of their own medicine and they'll realize that allowing any religious monuments is a bad idea.

    December 9, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  9. JesterJames

    LMAO, here's my prediction. They gonna sell the piece of land the statue rest on to a private group, so that it's no longer on public land.

    December 9, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      And then other non-dead jew zombie death cult cults and/or non-believers will want to purchase land in a similar fashion and the charade will be exposed.

      December 9, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
      • JesterJames

        yeah, but it's legal to simply say no more land is available for sale.

        December 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          I think a court would see through the ruse.

          December 9, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
        • JesterJames

          LMAO, seeing thru the ruse? because it's the spirit of the law not the letter of the law that consistently enforced. /sarcasm

          December 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
        • JesterJames

          beside there's a precedent, someone awhile back put up a big cross on public land, it engendered the same contraversy, so the state sold the land under the cross to private group. and it was deemed legal, and denied other groups from buying public land next to it by simply saying it's not available for sale.

          December 9, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  10. Steel On Target

    I hope Satan wins this one.

    December 9, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • mogran

      Shame on you and bless your little heart...

      December 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Sai

      Ha, yeah I agree.

      I got a laugh from this line in the article: "My favorite idea right now is an object of play for children. We want kids to see that Satanism is where the fun is."


      December 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  11. Observer

    The 10 Commandments have VERY LITTLE to do with law so why should they be there anyway?

    December 9, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • djjimi

      Because the conservative right in this country wants a theocracy.

      December 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • myrtlemaylee

      And they have even LESS to do with politics or politicians!

      December 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • brad1001

      Respectfully, Mosaic Law and the 10 Commandments have been brought down through the ages, through Roman, English and many other Nations to the present time. Not all, mind you, but most.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
      • G to the T

        Odd then that only perjury (baring false witness), murder and stealing are actually laws in our country. Almost like they are basic to what ANY society needs to survive that they could have come from anywhere... hmmm....

        December 10, 2013 at 9:56 am |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    but the bible says that the devil is the lord of the air and that anywhere man erects a statue of the devil, there will be tornadoes!

    Oh no, what will happen to those poor people in Oklahoma if tornadoes start destroying their trailer parks and towns!

    oh if only god was not so weak and could stop the devil

    December 9, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin


      December 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
  13. The One Who Knows

    Insulting a satanist is like trying to teach a pig...no, they've been ablt to get pigs to learn.

    December 9, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Kind of like trying to teach a Fundamentalist Christian that evolution is real and their book is OBE...

      December 9, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • MMM

      @The One Who Knows

      Absolutely right 😉
      I guess we shall not comment here any more.

      December 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  14. Michael G

    So called Christians screamed "freedom of speech" to get the ten commandments of their mythical pagan religion put up. Wonder what they are saying now... Call you spell "hypocrites"???

    December 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
  15. PWoggs

    From the 5,000-pound granite behemoth inside the Alabama State Judicial Building to the little wallet-cards sold at Christian bookstores — is bogus. Simply reading the Bible will prove this. Getting out your King James version, turn to Exodus 20:2-17. You’ll see the familiar list of rules about having no other gods, honoring your parents, not killing or coveting,
    and so on. At this point, though, Moses is just repeating to the people what God told him on Mount Si’nai. These are not written down in any form.
    Later, Moses goes back to the Mount, where God gives him two “tables of stone” with rules written on them (Exodus 31:18). But when Moses comes down the mountain lugging his load, he sees the people worshipping a statue of a calf, causing him to throw a tantrum and smash the tablets on the ground (Exodus 32:19).
    In neither of these cases does the Bible refer to “commandments.” In the first instance, they are “words” which “God spake,” while the tablets contain “testimony.” It is only when Moses goes back for new tablets that we see the phrase “ten commandments” (Exodus 34:28). In an interesting turn of events, the commandments on these tablets are significantly different than the ten rules Moses recited for the people, meaning that either Moses’ memory is faulty or God changed his mind.
    I. Thou shalt worship no other god.
    II. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
    III. The feast of unleavened bread thou shalt keep.
    IV. Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.
    V. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest,
    and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.
    VI. Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord God.
    VII. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.
    VIII. Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.
    IX. The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God.
    X. Thou shalt not seethe a kid [ie, a young goat] in his mother’s milk.

    So why have this in front of any Government building? Keep your god out of my country

    December 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Sol Invictus

      I thought there were 15 Commandments... at least according to the "History of the World, Part 1."

      December 9, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
      • PWoggs

        Nice 15 Commandments, get youre 15 Commandments here.... ooop 10, 10 Commandments!

        December 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  16. Rob gemerek

    I feel like the Satan statue would be more appropriate in front of wall st. or somewhere in DC since Lucifer (Satan) is revered by so many in our government

    December 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Justice

      Obama? What would be his logo? I came, I saw and then I concurred?

      December 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
      • Observer

        Bush's would be "I talked to God often and we ended up with Hurricane Katrina, the 9/11 attack, the stock market plummeted, and we started a $2,000,000,000,000 war for false reasons".

        December 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
        • Justice

          Agree with that one... and Clinton? "I loved to lick cigars". Too funny!

          December 9, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
        • Justice

          We left out Reagan – Feel free to trickle, it's good for the economy!

          December 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
  17. edmundburkeson

    If they really are Satanists ... why do they need permission?

    December 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  18. The Punished

    Why would anyone want a statue of my ex-wife at the capital?

    December 9, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Justice


      December 9, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Guest

      HA! That was a good one!

      December 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  19. Sunflower

    I wonder if Satanists have their own cemeteries!!!

    December 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Justice

      Yep and they're full of dogs, the non dyslexic type.

      December 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
      • MMM

        hehhehehe... rather rotten too 😉

        December 10, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  20. WTHWTH

    I want statues of Zeus and Odin placed next to the Ten Commandments, or I'm gonna sue.

    Oh, and a statue of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, too.

    December 9, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      So make an application and get your wallet out to pay for the statues of your choice.

      December 9, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Akira

      And if you raise the money and follow the guidelines, you may.
      The OK gov't didn't pay for this monument with taxpayer money.

      December 9, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
      • bspurloc

        ONLY if they VOTE to allow it. which is highly unlikely due to hypocrisy

        December 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • Akira

          They would have to give a very specific reason not to allow it; one that would be able to withstand a challenge in the SCOTUS.
          To avoid this, it would be smart to use the exact same dimensions as the current monument.

          December 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      FSM would be awesome!

      December 9, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
      • Sol Invictus

        May HIS noodly appendage bless you with HIS touch! R'amen!

        December 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I mock your starchy god with his pirates and midgets.
          Praise J.R. "Bob" Dobbs for The Church of the Subgenius is the only faith that offers eternal salvation or TRIPLE YOUR MONEY BACK.

          December 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.